Micah is the coolest guy on campus. He never loses his temper. He’s forever chill and the ladies chase him. Micah never has to lift a finger to get attention. Until he goes to a campus party where a game of spin-the-bottle leads to Micah kissing Leo who is not an easy conquest.
Leo is an out-and-proud gay rights activist and a passionate actor. He’s talented and focused. But he’s also got a rule: Only homos. The rule basically means that, regardless of attraction, Leo dates only gay guys. No bi-curious straight guys or men staying firmly in the closet.
Leo wants to forget the kiss; Micah can’t forget the kiss. The chase is on. Leo is directing a play as part of his studies, Shakespeare’s Midsummer Night’s Dream. When he loses his stage due to a homophobic meanie, Micah offers his farm’s barn as a theater. Perhaps Micah can finally convince Leo of his sincere intentions?
Though part of a series, this can be read as a standalone. I recommend reading the books in order, though, because some characters from the first book, Unwrapping Hank, are mentioned, and quite a lot too.
I am a huge fan of Eli Easton’s works. Huge. Her writing is well-paced, exciting, mesmerizing, realistic, effortless, and smooth. I literally can’t stop until I’m on the final page. As usual, the story shines thanks to the way she shows it to us. The characters feel real and sympathetic. You feel for them and want only happy things for them. Micah loses his cool over the kiss with Leo, and that change in his personality is described well in his thoughts and in the reactions he gets from friends and family. Leo’s strong will and professionalism comes through loud and clear, and he’s so cute, you can’t help but like him. His past straight lover who wanted things on the down-low explains Leo’s reticence toward Micah, who is more go-with-the-flow, no-labels-please type.
The side characters, of which there are plenty, are all three-dimensional and realistic as well. Of the lot, Sloane from the first book comes through the loudest. In fact, he’s pretty hard for anyone, including Micah, to ignore. He’s the Puck of the story, the driving force of most of the plot twists. However… considering the length of the story, far too much on-screen time is given to the side characters (when you get to the Yasmine-Helen thing, you’ll know what I mean). I felt like Micah and Leo spent far too little time together for the romance and the deep feelings to develop. What this story needed was another hundred pages. That way, the side characters hogging the time wouldn’t have mattered. Especially Sloane, whom I loved since the first book.
The biggest negative for me, however, was the disappointment that some suggested things didn’t lead anywhere. From the first kiss, through all the sensual scenes between Micah and Leo, we’re given hints that Micah is the more submissive of the two. Yet… nothing comes of this. There is only one complete sex scene, and it doesn’t turn out at all the way the hints would have implied. The result of that was that I felt like I’d been mislead, and because of the novella length, not enough time is given to the reader to enjoy how the relationship truly develops toward the direction it’s supposed to go.
Regardless of those few negatives, this story has a lot to offer. A basic feel-good story with smart, witty, and funny characters that flows smoothly, and the pace is just right. Easton’s talented writing style never fails. Since I was expecting a sweet, heartfelt romance, that was what I got, and I was satisfied. Recommended as a basic good-spirited holiday tale.